Gluten-free and the Gastrointestinal System

Recently, a number of my clients have reported going gluten-free. Not everyone who has tried eliminating gluten from their diets has experienced beneficial change but some have noted health improvements. Feeling more energized, being less lethargic, having improved gastrointestinal habits, or seeing a reduction in body weight have been the most common effects.

One thing of note from a gastrointestinal standpoint (e.g. bloating, cramping, gas, change in bowel movements) is that the same grains that contain gluten (wheat, rye, barley) also contain a large amount of fructans. Fructans are a type of carbohydrate that cause no trouble to most, but aren’t fully digested well by some individuals, particularly those with IBS.

If you’ve gone gluten-free and have seen improved bowel symptoms note that you may be managing fructan maldigestion instead of a gluten issue. Be sure to mention this to your Copeman dietitian, as there may be other high-fructan foods that your body is having trouble digesting.

– Gelina Syfchuck, RD